A side dish at best

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TEN HUNGRY TURKEYS

Ten turkeys invited to a Thursday luncheon decide, one by one, that attending might not be such a great idea.

The anthropomorphic turkeys are initially thrilled at Mr. and Mrs. Byrd’s invitation and accept enthusiastically. But reservations arise early on: “TEN hungry turkeys were on their way to lunch / when one turkey said, ‘Uh oh, I have a hunch. / I know we thought this would be fun, / but something just feels wrong. / Please don’t be mad, / ’cause I feel bad. / I just can’t come along.’ ” When they bump into two families—three stereotypical American Indians bearing a platter of corn and three stereotypical Pilgrims bearing a roast fowl—another turkey drops out. And so it goes, Balsley’s rhyme never faltering (though it may need some rehearsal at first), as turkey after turkey expresses ever more explicit qualms about the Byrds’ menu and decides not to attend. Finally just one turkey’s left to happily accept yams from Mrs. Byrd, who is revealed to be yet another anthropomorphic turkey. Richard dresses her turkeys in outfits that range from a biker vest to a pink cardigan; although they are nominally individuated, it’s hard to tell from the compositions which turkey is speaking until the page is turned and readers must figure out which one is missing.

A side dish at best . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4556-2235-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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